THE main reason for keeping Gaelic alive as a spoken language (“Gaelic faces an uphill battle, but is this the turning point?”, The Herald, July 11, and Letters, July 14) is the massive store of oral culture in which the rhythm and melody of the language played a vital part. No translation of Gaelic traditional poetry can do justice to the original– it has to be heard.

One of the unfortunate side-effects of the Viking invasions and the Reformation in Scotland was that most of the Gaelic literary output in the monasteries was destroyed.

Gaelic perforce became an oral tradition wherein stories, history and poetry survived thanks to to incredible feats of memory.

Translation of legal documents into Gaelic is a complete waste of everyone's time but those who argue that the language is irrelevant are happy to ignore its importance in the historical record of our country.

History is written by the victors, so the nay-sayers are presumably happy to accept the English versions as being all-embracing?

Bill Innes, Glasgow G41.


PROFESSOR Ian Brown (Letters, July 14) claims more people in Britain attend theatre in a year than do football. That is a fact which is, however, heavily skewed by London theatre attendances (which are twice the numbers attending Premier League football in England).

Scottish Premiership attendances lead the way throughout Europe on a per capita basis.

I remain with Kevin McKenna on this one.

George Kirrin, Beckenham.


BRIAN Moore (Letters, July 14) provides statistics of bird deaths by other sources, including cats, in response to a letter about birds killed by wind turbines. That is a totally faulty argument on all fronts, but in any case cats kill small garden birds. Turbines kill eagles and ospreys and swans and geese and endangered species.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.


THERE is a simple solution to what Professor Peter Gray (Letters, July13) calls "the problem of singing in churches". We should be invited to hum the hymns instead. As well as probably being more melodious, it would allow us to reflect more deeply on the words as we hum along, rather than expressing them vocally along with our viruses. It can be presumed that God knows the words anyway.

Michael Otter, Kinlochbervie.


NOW that restrictions have been lifted, I decided to go shopping; what a disaster. I need to wear glasses and have a hearing aid – too many hours in noisy engine rooms. But now I also have to wear a face covering. Unfortunately, I can not wear all three. If I take my glasses off I cannot see properly, if the hearing aid is left out I spend half my time saying "Pardon?" to the shop assistant. Oh, if only I had ears "like a taxi with the doors wide open", as my father used to say.

Ģeorge Smith, Clydebank.

IF masks are mandatory, is lipstick obsolete?

Joan Matthewson, Dumfries.


VICTORIA Weldon's article on nuisance smells ("Something stinks as councils receive13,000 odour complaints", the Herald, July 14) reminded me of the days when raw sewage was pumped into the Firth of Forth at Seafield. Bathers at nearby Portobello were often horrified to find something nasty floating beside them. My grandfather summed up the situation by remarking: 'Ye cannae swim at Portobello any more. Ye just go through the motions.'

Gordon Wright, Edinburgh EH9.